On March 25, a group of fringe neocons and alt-rightists surfaced in Washington to declare propaganda war against China. The group, led by Steve Bannon, Frank Gaffney, Fred Fleitz, General Jerry Boykin and a handful of others, announced the formation of the Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC). The original Committee on the Present Danger was launched in the mid-1950s to spread the call for a Cold War arms buildup, but was soon shut down when President Eisenhower, an opponent of the group, coopted several leading members into his administration and effectively ended it. A second iteration of CPD surfaced in 1976 and did play a role in electing Ronald Reagan as President. A mid-2000s version never got off the ground. Not much chance of the current version–CPD 4.0–faring any better.
Frank Gaffney, founder and guru of the Center for Security Policy, made a name for himself peddling an extreme version of Islamophobia. The new outfit's goal is to use its close ties to National Security Advisor John Bolton to turn President Trump into a full-blown China hater. The second goal is to shape American public opinion sharply against China. While it is way too soon to forecast the outcome of this effort, the extremism of their message and the personalities associated with its launch suggest that it will remain on the fringe.
Nevertheless, it should not go unnoticed that the usual neocon hate-mongers are at it again. Likely that Gaffney, Fleitz (former Bolton National Security Council chief of staff until January), and Bannon have received a generous pile of cash from their long-time benefactor Robert Mercer. Mercer bankrolled Bannon's Cambridge Analytica, poured $4 million into the John Bolton Super PAC and was a long-running financial angel to Gaffney's CSP. To paraphrase an old Beatles song: Money can't buy you hate. But watch out for the hate propaganda to flourish at a time when US-China relations are already on shaky ground.